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Mountaineering is a modern day hobby, sport and profession. In the early years, the main goal of mountaineering is to reach the highest possible point of a particular mountain. Today, however, mountaineering has branched into several specializations that require technical climbing knowledge, application of safety measures, and athletic ability.
In Europe, mountaineering is more popularly known as alpinism and an alpinist is someone who is a mountaineer. These terminologies, however, simply imply the main goal of climbing difficult heights of alpines in extreme conditions.
Being an extreme sport, there are dangers involved. Mountaineering has been regarded as one of the dangerous hobbies. A mountaineer will always face deadly situations, uncertain climates, rough terrain and unpredictable hazards.
Falling rocks are the most common dangers faced by a mountaineer. This is brought by erosion on mountain slopes. At night, a big stone with cracks embedded on the slope can be intact because of freezing snow, but it can tend to erode at midday under the glaring sun. On the part of a mountaineer, there is no way of knowing this. As a mountaineer goes up the mountain, the higher he gets, the more danger he faces.
If there are falling rocks, the danger of falling ice must also be considered. However, as ice can be easily traced from fallen debris below, a mountaineer has to avoid the track. Avalanches are the next hazards that are really dangerous. These are caused by unsteady glaciers which may collapse together along with massive tons of snow, making it impossible for a mountaineer to survive. As most skiers are not aware of unstable glaciers they might be standing on top to, it will be too late to respond to an avalanche. Some skiers do survive; however, it would take experience, leadership, and technical knowledge to do so.
Crevasses are the next few dangers that a mountaineer must locate and identify. As these are sometimes easily seen and sometimes hidden from a fresh snow, early detection of these deadly pits is really important. Detection requires extra care and experience. Extreme weather conditions are the next hazards to face. High winds, chilling temperatures, lightning, thunderstorms, and heavy snow fall are some of the weather conditions a mountaineer has to face. High winds will make it difficult for a mountaineer to maneuver on steep slopes.
Chilling temperatures can lead to hypothermia. As a mountaineer gets higher on a terrain, heavy rain brought about by thunderstorms would make it extremely difficult to climb even with safety ropes. Altitude sickness is also something to be avoided. As one rapidly ascent, the faster altitude sickness sets in. Symptoms of body aches, headaches, lethargy, sleeping problems and lack of appetite strongly suggest altitude sickness. This medical condition is dangerous as it can lead to brain damage and pulmonary edema which can be deadly in the next day or two.
Enjoying nature up close is really something that anyone can dream of. However, in the field of mountaineering, technical climbing knowledge, experience, and application of safety measures should always be observed at all times for a successful climb. Nature possesses beauty to behold but a mountaineer should always be properly trained. He or she must have the sufficient knowledge and expertise to enjoy nature at its finest view.